ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND | I SAID YES, & HOLIDAY WALK GUIDES

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Harlow everyone! I'M FINALLY ENGAGED TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, (ahem, the title also tells you so...)! Putting my excitement aside, this post was extremely backdated, but better be late than never right?

Last December was the best, and the most uplifting month of 2017. Where shall I begin?

1) After a year of juggling between my full time job as an educational media producer in a university (that was the place where Ryan, my fiancé, and I met) and food styling over weekends, I bit the bullet, and left the university. Sometimes it is hard to say goodbye, especially to a great bunch of people whom I've poured my hearts out like an open book, and to a my boss, May, who is incredibly supportive in chasing my wild dream as a food stylist and content creator. With their blessings, I am relieved and ready to begin this new chapter. 

2) On 19 December 2017, the man of my dreams knelt on one knee, and popped the question. Honestly, I was perplexed, nervous and froze for a split second. Haha, actually I kind of knew he was going to propose because he said "Alicia" instead of the usual silly pet names we called each other. Now that I'm trying hard to recall the flashbacks, I couldn't! But there's one thing that was vivid to me; he repeated those phrases we said to each other from time to time, that we are a team, we will support each other, we are going to explore many adventures ahead together and he loves me. By the way, that was his proposal speech, despite having another speech he had prepared long ago, hehe. Also, it was such a precious and intimate moment for me and him. No hidden cameras, no photographers, no rehearsal and NGs. Just one take that belongs to both of us. 

3) Spending Christmas and New Year in Aberdeenshire for the first time with the Kirwans was    splendid and heartwarming. I count myself to be fortunate and thankful to call Aberdeenshire a second home. Every second of tranquility, breath of the wild, morning runs, sauna sessions in the bathroom, moments of family time watching The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, they brought simple, and pure joy. 

Not only that, this trip back home has recharged my body, and mind after exerting to try bettering myself in 2017. It was the dream escapade to wake up to naked silver birch trees in the garden, a herd of deers, and a wholesome porridge everyday. Life was guudddd.....

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 These purple skies are REAL before the daylight ends every day. I am not kidding

These purple skies are REAL before the daylight ends every day. I am not kidding

So if you love long walks, and runs as much as we do for a slow holiday, here are the places we left our footprints on...

1. BELL WOOD

Behind the first eco house in UK that Vic and Teresa built for over a year, Bell Wood is situated just a minute away. Isn't it perfect?! This is a family friendly, pet friendly woods located in Aboyne where we went on 30 minute morning runs, and mid-day walks with friends and family who came bearing gifts during Christmas and New Year's Day. The enchanting silver birches accompanied by perpetual fresh Scottish air made the run stimulating, and worthwhile to kickstart the day. Also, running in the woods cleared up my sinus despite the winter climate throughout my stay. 

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 Fisherman Hut along dee side

Fisherman Hut along dee side

 The Kirwans

The Kirwans

 Knock, knock, the fisherman did not answer. So we quickly took a snap here.

Knock, knock, the fisherman did not answer. So we quickly took a snap here.

2. Loch Muick

With all that turkey, spirits, christmas pudding and half of that Marks and Spencer christmas food package left untouched in the garage, a long walk was much desired on Boxing Day for team SingLand (Singapore and Scotland, geddit?). 

Daylight hours in Scotland was between 08:23am and 15:49pm in December. Hence to complete the walk before sun sets, we headed out at about 13:00pm just after lunch. 

All of us wore four layers each. Sweater> Jacket> Coat> Scarf, that was the protocol. Don’t forget to complete the winter look wellington boots and beanie hat for the gentlemen and beanie hat with pom poms for the ladies! Better to look like a dumpling than freeze our asses off! 

The Grand Glen Muick (pronounce as Mick) is about a 30 minute drive from Aboyne. It is highly recommended and commendable for its majestic view. The fairly manageable circuit was a breeze, and there were plentiful of stopping places to pause and admire the moment of beauty. Not to mention, the Glas-allt Sheil house built by Queen Victoria was in sight. This scottish architecture is limited to public access. Till today, the Royal Family frequent this holiday house! To begin, we parked the car at the car park and paid for a fee (I’m not sure how much it was, I reckon it was a small charge). 

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From there, we strolled along the Balmoral Estate visitor centre at the Spittal of Glenmuick, we walked straight ahead, instead of making a right turn that leads to Loch Lochnagar. Follow the path as dried heather and pine cones led you to sign saying “Public path to Glen Cova”, that goes left. However, we opted for the short completion time and continue to strolled straight up under the cold weather condition, and the sun was setting real soon. 

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The entire route was the most amazing two and a half hour we have had on Boxing Day. We munched on some celebratory Oreo chocolates at the Loch-end wood, surrounded by snowy steep hills, fresh water trickling under a layer of ice where we were standing! 

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 On our way back to the carpark, guess what, we spied on stags under the half moon!

On our way back to the carpark, guess what, we spied on stags under the half moon!

3. Riverside at Aboyne, Lunch at the Black Faced Sheep

On one of Teresa's well deserved day off at the Raemoir Garden Centre, we went on a ladies only day out, while the men stayed home catching up on their brain-training with Lumosity. We drove down to the Aboyne Riverside, a picturesque walk, a hidden gem that we both enjoyed talking whilst strolling to the River end. Also, it was a day Teresa mentioned about picking up photography once she retires and I handed her my camera immediately. Check out her first portraiture of me!  

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 The ever lovely Teresa:)

The ever lovely Teresa:)

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Shortly after the walk, we headed to our usual hangout for tea; At the sign of the Black Faced Sheep at the Deeside Way. The name is quite a mouthful and it took me five times to say over and over again till I got it right. I remembered stepping into this cosy, warm lighted, coffeeshop and the wooden floorings creaked with every step I walk. Rustic was the first word that sprung up my mind. An abundance of knick knacks, gifts, homeware handpicked by the owner were stacked in both corners at the doorstep. The imperfect mess of colour coordinated pieces somehow became a beautiful, country and homely scene. 

We ordered our usual Earl Grey tea and a seafood platter. They were bomb! The platter consisted of fresh chilled prawns, chilled salmon slices, smoked salmon, pickles, a light salad, buns for two and a mustard mayo dip, Mm mm! 

 Mr Mark Ronson, the co-founder

Mr Mark Ronson, the co-founder

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To end this post, I would like to wish Y0U a fruitful 2018, may we can all enjoy the fruits we bear from our milestones this year and live more in the present, embrace them and breathe. 

 Lots of love,  Ally

Lots of love,

Ally